Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Hong Kong Open 2016 - Fanling GC

The final event on the Europeantour for 2016 takes place at Fanling GC this week for the Hong Kong Open. Despite withdrawing from last week's Hero Challenge, Justin Rose has made the trip to defend his title from last year. With the injury concern, bookies have instead made Patrick Reed the favourite to win. His recent form though is a concern and suggests we may have some value for the week! They are joined by Masters, champion Danny Willett and his compatriot Ian Poulter, who has solid form in China and arrives in decent form of late following a return from injury.

The Course

Fanling is a short, tight, tree-lined course where Miguel Angel Jiminez has won this event on four separate occasions. Finding the fairway off the tee is crucial here and those with a strong scrambling game this week should contend. Just two par-5s over the 7,000 yd course will mean that big hitters wont necessarily have an advantage although Scott Hend and Rory McIlroy have won here, and Rose is no slouch either off the tee!


Marcus Fraser is on the shortlist given his course form but recent form casts some doubt. I've left it late looking for 100/1 but if he's to find form again it could very well be here. The Aussie keeps his best results for Asian events and in his 8 starts here, he has finished in the TOP10 four times. He clearly likes it here.
Whilst Ian Poulter is showing a return to form lately, so too is Mikko Ilonen who produced his only TOP10 in 2016 at the recent Turkish Airlines. That came on the back of a T12 at The British Masters and another TOP20 at the Alfred Dunhill Links. That all said he's missed the cut here on his last three visits so perhaps the 100.00 on offer is a result of the course efforts to date. I'm prepared to give him a chance here as Fanling should suit.

For the TOP20 markets this week I'm keen to play Rashid Khan @ 9.50 Having learned his game at Delhi GC, a very tight and short course, he can put in a good performance here to follow up on his 2nd place finish last Sunday at the Panasonic Open India and his TOP10 at The Macau Open.
Aussie Jason Scrivener was 3rd here on debut last year and he can put in another result here this time round having put in a solid TOP5 at the Australian Open last month and 2 TOP20s at the Portugal Masters and European Open.

.25 pts WIN M.Faser @ 100.00
.25 pts WIN M.Ilonen @ 100.00

2.0 pts TOP10 M.Fraser @ 7.00
2.0 pts TOP10 M.Ilonen @ 10.00

1.75 pts TOp20 J.Scrivener @ 4.33
1.75 pts TOP20 R.Khan @ 9.50

Monday, 28 November 2016

Alfred Dunhill Championship 2016 - Leopard Creek

Charl Schwartzel goes gunning for his fourth title in five years at Leopard Creek for the Alfred Dunhill Championship this week and given his form of late it's no surprise to see him installed as the favourite ahead of compatriot and the 2014 winner, Branden Grace.(He also won this back in 2005)The home players tend to dominate on home soil in these co-sanctioned events but it could be an opportune week for the European Tour's younger members to gain some much needed points for confidence in going forward in the 2017 Race to Dubai.It'll be tough to get the two market leaders beat here and with weather forecast to indicate a nice settled week, scoring will be low as ever.

The Course

Leopard Creek is a Gary Player designed, par-72 parkland course where its signature or signatures is probably the animals that will be seen in proximity; hence SKY TV getting all carried away in between shots and annoying me even further. With the former Masters Champion and Grace in the field, I expect we'll see very little action form the other contenders unless playing alongside the two or challenging on Sunday so its an event I won't mind not viewing this time round. That all said, this a beautiful golf course with plenty of water throughout so to go low, the players will need to bring some accuracy to their game and a hot putter.

Selections to take on the TOP TWO

If home players are to prevail again this week then I'm happy to take a punt on Challenge Tour graduate, Dylan Frittelli, who lost a playoff at the Australian PGA Championship twelve months ago and which is being held at Pines Resort in Queensland this week He's opted to stay at home this time round now that he has his European Tour Card and he can continue his form by starting his new venture with a solid showing here having finished TOP10 at Cape Town last week. He finished 11th here in 2015 and is well worth chancing here @ 50/1 for the outright but is a strong play for TOP20 @ 2.50

Benjamin Hebert is a player I will follow closely next season as I believe he can win soon. He was 3rd here last year following a TOP30 in 2014 so he has shown a liking for Leopard Creek. He posted 8/29 TOP20s last season (28%) but 8/22 when making the cut(36%) but it was a progressive year for the Frenchman and in this quality of field he can deliver another T20 easily. He was T-34th at Sun City a couple of weeks ago, was TOP10 in Portugal in October and TOP20 in Italy in September. He as a TOP20 in him for December !

.20 pts WIN D. Fritelli @ 50.00
.20 pts WIN B. Hebert @ 60.00

2.80 pts TOP20 D. Fritelli @ 2.50
2.80 pts TOP20 B. Hebert @ 2.50